Micropoetry Monday: Ekphrastic Poetry


She’d learned it all from Lucy–
how a life of grand schemes
& wars of the sexes made it worth living,
how one could come to America an immigrant & not make do but do well,
how a small apartment in the city could become a spacious house in the country,
how lifelong best friends & a long-awaited child
could be part of anyone’s American Dream.

Tomorrow was always another day—
that mythical time when all would be well.
Yet she pined for the one man
who represented that lost cause
in which she’d found happiness.

Caroline Carmichael had found purpose in a stolen life,
rather than the life she had chosen as Martha Sedgwick.
She was the water,
Hillary & Winston the powdered mix,
& blended, they made up the Instant Family.

Little Women
Beth was but a faint percussion,
Amy, a bold stroke of fresh color,
while Jo captured & condensed life as she knew it,
& Meg mothered the future.

She was one in a dozen,
a ginger with a snap,
the heart of a lion,
the breadth of a lamb.

Reality TV, and The Reality of the American Economy

I am not a fan of reality television, with two exceptions:  I love “Shark Tank” and “MasterChef”.  I consider most news programs (on any channel–network or cable) reality TV, since news is more talking heads, opinion, and speculation rather than facts.

I used to watch “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” (a guilty pleasure that left me as unsatisfied as a box of Little Debbies–the commentary on realitysteve.com was far more entertaining).  I even used to miss a favorite yoga class to watch it with my mom (not before the days of DVR, but we’re always behind the times about ten years when it comes to technology).

I enjoy “MasterChef” because I like to cook.  I love “SharkTank” because I love the entrepreneurial spirit–I hope to one day invent a product that makes me a millionaire.  Not sure about starting a business, though.  According to the Sharks, you should spend 16-20 hours a day on your business.  If I didn’t get at least seven hours of sleep a day, I can’t think clearly.  When Mark Cuban talks about how he used to eat ketchup and mustard sandwiches, well, all I can say is, “Really?!”

I don’t think you have to starve yourself or go without sleep to be successful.  I think you just have to be focused, work hard, and it does help to start small.  I am amazed at the number of people who go on there and they’ve mortgaged their house and went deep into debt.  I know what Dave Ramsey would say about that, but I also know he doesn’t believe you should go into debt to go to college (which I disagree with, to a certain extent–if you’re getting a degree in Art History, yes, but engineering, no).  I look at college as an investment in one’s future.

There was one lady who started her business with two hundred dollars–money she’d made one summer from cashing in aluminum from old windows her husband took out (he was some kind of contractor).  She even taught herself to sew (which I can’t even fathom because that was one of two classes I flunked in high school, that and geometry).

Now that admission segues me into talking about the product I’ve created.  However, I not only have to learn how to sew to make this work, but I would have to secure a patent (which would be very expensive).  I’ve made a very crude prototype (there’s a word I learned from the show) for myself that works great.  I think there is a market for it.  However, the uncertainty scares me.  I may not be too big to fail, but I am too poor to fail.  I am not a salesperson–I am an inventor.  Just like I love the creative part of writing, I hate the marketing/business part.  I would be totally fine with receiving a royalty off of every sale–just make me money!  I don’t want the headache of running a business.  I really don’t.  I believe in simplifying life, not complicating it.

That said, I know I would have to agree to have my product manufactured overseas to cut costs.  I am okay with that.  I’d prefer to have the label “Made in America”, but it just isn’t feasible when you’re just starting out.  There was a man who pitched his idea of some kind of pick-up truck add-on, but he was adamant about it being made in the USA to help bring jobs to his impoverished town.  I get that, but until you become big, you can’t afford to do that.  He made zero profit.  If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone else.

The reality is that we’re a global economy.  Ninety-nine percent of people just aren’t willing to pay more for something of the exact same quality, just to get that “Made in America” label.  Most of them can’t afford to.

I’d love for all our goods to be made here, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen.  We’re a consumerist society, a service-based economy.

Right now, I am focused on trying to make more money, to help give my family a better quality of life.  Sometimes, in order to achieve the American Dream, one must be flexible doing business beyond her borders.


The American Dream in Black and White and Living Color

Every year, when the mood hits me, I dig out my “I Love Lucy” collection.  I generally rewatch my favorite episodes–from the pilot episode to the last Lucy-Desi comedy hour.  Maybe every ten years or so, I’ll watch the entire series straight through.

A long time ago, I read that the series personified the American Dream.  An immigrant comes to America and falls in love.  They get married, making two lifelong friends somewhere along the way.  Years pass and they have a son (though they were happy and content before–I think people were more accepting of their lot then, whether they wanted to have a baby and couldn’t, or vice versa); Ricky’s career progresses, and we see the Ricardos move from a modest apartment in the city to a spacious home in the country.  The only thing one might see amiss in this scenario is that Lucy wanted a career in show business, which she gives up in Hollywood when the chance is offered to her.

As a somewhat modern woman (who doesn’t think stay-at-home moms are relics who have outgrown their usefulness), I was bothered that Ricky laid the guilt trip on her in California, instead of letting her at least pursue the opportunity, but I get it–his career was what put the bread and bacon on the table.

In the comedy hour with Paul Douglas (towards the end of the series run), Ricky has mellowed and Lucy gets a job on a television show; Ricky, at long last, admits to her that she has talent.  It is only then that she realizes a showbiz career means sacrificing more time with her family than she is willing to, and she is finally satisfied in her role as a stay-at-home wife and mother.  I like that it ended that way, with it being Lucy’s choice, and not her husband’s.  Maybe all she ever really wanted was for Ricky to acknowledge that she had talent.

Last night, while I was holding my sleeping baby after her bath, I was on “Lucy is Enceinte”, and it was just one of those perfect moments.  That episode still brings tears to my eyes when I watch it.  (Just like the scene where Ricky tells his son the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” makes me smile, for there is nothing sexier than a man who spends time with his children.)

I know the American Dream means different things to different people–for some people, it means owning a home, for others, it means being able to travel and rent wherever they please.  For some, it means getting married and having a family (or not having a family), or having the freedom to leave the U.S. and live abroad.  You can live the Dream anywhere.  However, if I ever slip up and ask someone how they’re doing and they say, “Living the Dream”, I assume they’re being sarcastic.